Saturday, August 25, 2007

Parents are increasingly adding '.com' to baby's name

Culture: I don't object to giving domain names to newborns as a gift or something kinda neat for them to use as they grow older. But I object to this.

Besides leaving the hospital with a birth certificate and a clean bill of health, baby Mila Belle Howells got something she won't likely use herself for several years: her very own Internet domain name.

Likewise newborn Bennett Pankow joined his four older siblings in getting his own Internet moniker. In fact, before naming his child, Mark Pankow checked to make sure "" hadn't already been claimed.

"One of the criteria was, if we liked the name, the domain had to be available," Pankow said. It was, and Pankow quickly grabbed Bennett's online identity.

A small but growing number of parents are getting domain names for their young kids, long before they can do more than peck aimlessly at a keyboard.

It's not known exactly how many, but the practice is no longer limited to parents in Web design or information technology.

No, your newborn's name shouldn't depend on if the domain name is available, that is dumb and wrong on so many levels.

Trinidad and Tobago light rail project...You're kidding me.

Trinidad: I haven't been keeping up with all the news at home but this has to be one of the biggest waste of money since the last big money project by the Trini government.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar kicked off the budget debate yesterday with the allegation that the contractor for the billion-dollar Waterfront and Rapid Rail projects had an international reputation for bid rigging.

"I demand that the Trinidad and Tobago Rapid Rail Project be immediately halted, the International Waterfront project immediately halted," Persad-Bissessar said during her three-hour long response to the budget at the Red House, Port of Spain.

Persad-Bissessar said the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission as well as the Auditor General should immediately probe this scandal which may involve corruptive links to former Home Mortgage Bank chairman Andre Monteil and the Urban Development Corporation chairman (UDECOTT) Calder Hart.

Last Monday, Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced the award of the contract of $15 billion for the rail project to the Trinitrain Consortium led by the company Bouygues Travaux Publics.

As long as I remember, every transportation system run by a T&T government has been a crap shoot. I seriously doubt a north-south or east-west rail system supported by maxi-taxis and buses at the end of the main lines will be any better. Also the huge amount of corruption and waste that will happen will double the price and on-going maintenance of the entity. The only way this rail project would be worth anything is by first fixing the highways, bus system to ensure smoother traveling and fix what is most of the time a nuthouse system of traveling by maxi-taxis. Other than that this will end up with T&T being the new version of the monorail Simpsons sketch.

More info on the system on Google.

Casualty's Muslim terrorist storyline dropped by writer.

Entertainment: A followup on this story where the BBC was forcing the show to drop a storyline about a Muslim suicide bomber. Now it comes out that the writer dropped it because he feared for his mother's life.

A series editor on long running BBC drama Casualty has said that a plotline featuring a terrorist attack by Islamist suicide bombers was scrapped because the writer feared retaliation.

The revelation, made by Casualty series editor Henry Richard Swindell, came during the question and answer session at a TV festival session called Mind Your Language, about political correctness in British television.

The wide-ranging discussion, which featured panelists including Big Brother's Charley Uchea and Life on Mars co-founder Ashley Pharoah, looked at incidents including the use of the n-word by Emily Parr on the reality show.

During the session a reference had been made to the scrapping of the Muslim terrorist plotline in Casualty in favour of a story featuring a bombing by animal rights activists.

"The choice to remove the Islamic episodes was the writer's choice," said Mr Swindell. "The reason was his mother lives in a highly Islamic area and he was worried about retaliation."

He added that the changes to the script were made at an "incredibly early stage" when it "wasn't a locked script".

Mr Swindell that the "fear wasn't there" when scripts featuring IRA bombers had been made in a previous series of Casualty.

He was then asked if he would have run the Islamist terrorist script if it had been his decision.

"As a producer I would personally," he said. "But I am not speaking [on behalf of] the programme or the BBC."

Between this and Opus being dropped by papers, not really a good week for the fearless media types on both sides of the pond.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Swift Offers Prayer Solution to Muslims

Culture: Only CAIR can make me side with a damn union rep.

OMAHA, Neb. -
Meatpacking plant officials accused of discriminating against dozens of Somali Muslim workers have offered to tweak break times to help accommodate the workers' prayer demands.

If the dozens of Muslim workers and Swift & Co. can agree on details, a resolution could defuse the dispute that started earlier this year when 120 workers at the Grand Island plant abruptly quit because they weren't allowed to pray at sunset.

Many say they were fired, quit or were verbally and physically harassed over the issue, and some have complained to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the way they were treated.

In a letter to lawyers representing the workers, Swift said it could eliminate some break-time conflicts, and offered to negotiate more scheduling flexibility with the union to allow more prayer time if the workers agreed to the proposal.

Advocates for the workers said Thursday that they were encouraged by the proposal, but that they would not accept a proposal that failed to accommodate the prayers for the whole year.

"We'll continue negotiations with the company and hopefully we'll come out with a solution that everybody can deal with," said Rima Kapitan, a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations who is representing the workers in the dispute.

At some point there is a limit to religious accomdations and this would be one of them. You can't rearrange a huge plant for what amounts to a handful of employees. CAIR seems to eager to use this to make a precedent for other workplaces around the country to cater to hardline Muslims.

But the president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union said Thursday that changing the breaks might not be feasible for other workers in the plant.

"I don't know that I can agree to that because I have 1,700 other people to worry about," said Dan Hoppes, Local 22 union president. "I have to look and see what they've got in mind."

Any changes could be a problem for other workers because supervisors at the plant determine breaks within allotted times, not the workers themselves. And breaks are required to be uniform for each employee.

This won't cause resentment at all in the workplace.

Berkeley Breathed Opus strip banned by clients

Update here: Reason for the ban at the Washington Post.

Media: For use of Islamic imagery and sexual jokes.

Berkeley Breathed's Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 strips -- which comprise sort of a two-part series -- show the Lola Granola character wanting to become an Islamic radicalist (and wear traditional Muslim clothing) because it's "all the rage in Europe." Content also includes what Shearer described as "a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see."

Wyson said some client papers hesitated to run a sex joke and others won't publish any Muslim-related humor, whether pro or con. "They just don't want to touch that," she said.

Violent protests took place after a Danish paper in 2005 published cartoons picturing Muhammad.

Shearer told E&P that WPWG checked with a couple of Islamic experts to see if the "Opus" strips might be offensive, and they said the comics were OK. But he understands why some papers might still be wary.

The syndicate executive did add that some readers who don't see the new Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 "Opus" strips in their newspaper might be upset that they weren't published.

I wonder if they ever consult other religious experts? Here is a teaser panel from Breathed site.

Update# Here is the supposed leak strip first tipped by Hot Air. If this is causing concern among certain media people, it shows how pathetic the great American press really is and how easily they get scared by one group.

House Dingel wants you to have smaller homes.

Environ: In his mind, you the people are taking too much and must be curbed by his laws.

To add to mortgage meltdown miseries, the credit panic, plunging home sales and rising foreclosures, here's a new worry: a proposed cutoff of mortgage-interest tax deductions for all houses with more than 3,000 square feet.

One of Capitol Hill's most experienced and powerful legislators is drafting a "carbon tax" bill that would do precisely that. Rep. John D. Dingell, the Michigan Democrat who heads the Energy and Commerce Committee, expects to introduce comprehensive climate change reform legislation once the House returns next month.

Besides imposing hefty new federal taxes on gasoline, the forthcoming bill will, in Dingell's words, seek to "remove the mortgage interest deduction on McMansions - homes over 3,000 square feet." Dingell said he recognizes that proposals like these will be highly controversial, but he believes they are essential to achieving the environmental goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent by the year 2050.

"In order to address the issue of climate change, we must address the issue of consumption," Dingell said in talking points prepared for town hall discussions of the legislation. "We do that by making consumption more expensive."

It is all about being in control nothing more.

Somali domestic violence culture in the news again.

Crime: In this case a Somali man rapes a woman in a hallway and no one does anything about it caught on video.

The video shows what most witnesses in a St. Paul apartment building apparently didn't tell.
A man beat a woman, removed his pants and sexually assaulted her in a hall, and five to 10 people saw at least part of the attack but did nothing to intervene or help, according to investigators and court documents.

It was only after police were summoned on a report of two drunk people lying in the hall that they learned there had been a rape. Rage Ibrahim, 25, of St. Paul, was charged Thursday with first-degree and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is in Ramsey County jail.

Somehow Rage is innocent according to this Somali advocate.

According to the complaint, officers found Ibrahim and the woman lying in the hall. Her clothes had been pushed above her waist. He wasn't wearing pants or underwear.

The woman told officers that she didn't know Ibrahim and that he had drugged her and raped her. She was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Officers overheard the woman say she "just wanted to die," the complaint said.

Ibrahim told officers that he and the woman, whom he said was his girlfriend, were drunk and messed up. He maintains that the incident was a misunderstanding, according to Omar Jamal, the executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center who spoke Thursday on Ibrahim's behalf.

"He did not rape her," Jamal said.

This is the same Jamal who had this to say in an earlier domestic violence case this year.

Ahmed beat his wife so badly last summer in her St. Paul apartment that she is in a prison of her own: She has permanent brain damage and scars. She will never be able to care for her 17-month-old son because she will never be able to care for herself. Advocates and law enforcement authorities say domestic violence often is a taboo topic in the male-dominated Somali community. Women are strongly discouraged from reporting it, said Omar Jamal of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center. There is a “deep mistrust in the system,” he said. “This case created bad disagreement in the community. Most of the men didn’t like that the women [took the case] this far.”

From an earlier LATIMES article from October 2006 showed that Somali men that are being given the priv of living in America have a backward way of treating their women.

"....Of the 25 students, only one spoke English, so Kassim practiced some key English phrases. "Po-LEESE! Po-LEESE!" the students recited in unison, practicing a 911 call.

Coming from a country without government or law, the idea that help is only a phone call away amazed Yussuf, whose parents were killed and who is traveling to the U.S. alone. "So if anyone bothers me, I just call 911 and the police come and beat them?" she asked. "Life must be very easy." Immigrants also heard about U.S. laws. Beating your wife and children is illegal, they were told, and so is chewing khat, the leafy amphetamine-like stimulant popular in Somalia. Performing genital excision on young girls is prohibited.

"If I can't beat my wife, how will she know that I love her?" Abrone asked, seated next to his silent teenage bride. Monogamy was equally unpopular with some men, who said their religion permitted four wives. But Kassim shut down the debate. "It doesn't matter," he told them. "In the U.S. you'll barely be able to afford one wife, anyway."

Lesson from all of this mess? Somalians better learn fast that in this country, lots of cultural norms they think are normal are not tolerated and any sort of the liberal multicultural nonsense will only make things worse.

Pennsylvania to Impose $25 Tax on free highway.

Nation: Hey, you voted for the guy.

Motorists traveling across the state of Pennsylvania on Interstate 80 could pay a $25 tax by the year 2010. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on Friday asked the US Department of Transportation for approval to turn the free and paid-for interstate highway into a toll road for the purpose of raising money for mass transit and other public spending projects. This would be the first conversion of a free interstate into a toll road since the interstate highway system was developed fifty years ago.

"The tolling program would generate revenues allowing a dramatic increase in capital investment along I-80, with an additional $1 billion being spent over the next decade, above and beyond PennDOT's historic 'baseline' funding levels," the tolling application stated.

I-80 runs 311 miles east to west across the state, primarily through rural areas. Since the 1970s, I-80 has provided the shortest route from New York to Chicago and become a vital commercial route. Governor Edward G. Rendell (D) last month signed a law authorizing the toll, but because the highway was built with federal funds, federal approval is needed. If granted, the Turnpike Commission plans to add ten E-ZPass electronic tolling booths to collect $25 from motorists at the rate of 8 cents per mile, while trucking traffic would face a $150 tax each way across the route. These fees would likely rise to $31 for cars and $200 for trucks soon after the implementation of tolling, raising the cost of shipping goods by truck by $400 per round-trip.

UK Justice: predatory paedophile walks free.

UK: The UK justice system is taking a beating this week because it is unbelievable to allow this man to walk free.

A predatory paedophile walked free from court yesterday after admitting a string of sex attacks on children, including an 18-month-old baby.

Michael Porter, 38, used his trusted position as a prominent Jehovah's Witness to prey on youngsters, many of them children of members of the church.

A respected member of the church in Somerset, Porter regularly babysat for youngsters, took them on holiday and invited them for sleepovers at his home.

He pleaded guilty to 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency over 15 years. But at Bristol crown court Judge Tom Crowther handed him a three-year community rehabilitation order after hearing he had undergone therapy.

The sentence provoked a fierce reaction from Porter's sister, who said the "ludicrous" punishment was an insult to his victims.

Tina Hughes, 40, said: "I'm absolutely disgusted. I'm very, very angry. I think the judge was absolutely pathetic. He just took my brother's side completely and believed that all he needed was a bit more therapy and now realised he had done wrong.

"He blamed his childhood for the attacks, which was a lie, but the judge ate it all up. I just broke down in tears when the judge said he wasn't going to jail. The whole courtroom went quiet. No one could believe it.

"I can't believe the judge thinks he is safe to be allowed out on the streets. He won't stop. There's no justice for the victims. No closure. He had no right to leave that courtroom.

"He has a lovely life. He has a religion standing by him. He has lost nothing. He's just not human. He's an evil monster. He can't have a soul.

"He was in a very high position. Children loved him and parents worshipped him. They thought he was God's son on earth. He was the last man they would ever suspect of doing something so horrific. He abused dozens of children and even a baby. But he's still free."

'Tintin in the Congo' dodges ban in Sweden

Media: Another attempt to ban the book outright.

Judicial authorities in Sweden have rejected an attempt by a Swede of Congolese origin to slap a ban on 'Tintin in the Congo' on racist grounds, the plaintiff said on Thursday.

Jean-Dadou Monya, 42, had lodged a legal action against Bonnier Carlsen, publisher of the Swedish translation of the Herge comic book, demanding that it be pulled from bookshops and libraries.

Monya told AFP that prosecutors had written to him to say they had decided not to pursue the case for procedural reasons -- notably because the timeframe for lodging such an action had been exceeded.

"I had expected that," he said. "For me, the important thing was to draw attention to the racist character of this comic book which no long has a place in 21st century society."

"This book is aimed at children and it is not good that they read racist things, such as when Tintin screams at Africans and treats them as lazy."

Congrats, you just upped the sales.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tavis Smiley "threatening" Giuliani and Romney.

Politics: Direct link here or you can hit the Black Americaweb site for the 8/23/07 commentary. Giuliani and Romney haven't send yes to another panderfest and Smiley puffing his chest saying they better show up for "Tavis Smiley Presidential Debate " on PBS. The threat is using the race card against them.

"Dallas" the movie now a comedy.

Entertainment: I guess this is Hollywood trashes childhood memories day.

Regency and 20th Century Fox are overhauling the bigscreen adaptation of TV series "Dallas," about the oil-rich Ewing clan, and this time they're drilling for laughs.

Betty Thomas, the director who mined two spoof movie hits from "The Brady Bunch," is in discussions to direct. Pam Brady, who most recently scripted "Hot Rod," is penning the script.

John Travolta remains attached to play slimy oil tycoon J.R. Ewing.

When the movie was derailed late last year, Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham") was directing. Luke Wilson was attached to play Bobby Ewing with Shirley MacLaine to play Miss Ellie, while producers were talking with Meg Ryan to play Sue Ellen after Jennifer Lopez dropped out.

The budget for the comic "Dallas" should be lower than the projected $65 million for the straight-faced version.

There is also hope that a comedy about the dysfunctional Ewings will appeal to a younger audience, which has become a Regency priority. Studio is eyeing a January start date.

G.I. Joe no longer American, now Euro based movie.

Entertainment: This is going to suck hard.

Paramount Pictures has set Stephen Sommers to direct "G.I. Joe," the live-action feature based on Hasbro's line of action figures.
The studio is hiring a writer immediately, and has set a February production start for a summer 2009 release.

The accelerated production schedule began right after Sommers pitched his version of the film to Par chairman-CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston on Wednesday evening. He was hired in the room.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce with Hasbro chief operating officer Brian Goldner. Sommers and his Sommers Co. partner Bob Ducsay will also be involved as producers.

Lets all be Multicultural and diverse for the sake of the world. The faster they can get away from America the better it is for the bottom line in their minds. Nothing says being so worldly than putting it in the home of NATO and the EU body.

While some remember the character from its gung-ho fighting man '60s incarnation, he's evolved.

G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer.

The property is closer in tone to "X-Men" and James Bond than a war film.

"Our vision (for "The Mummy") was clear the time the first trailer played during the Super Bowl, and by the time this one plays a Super Bowl, you'll see the coolest characters and visuals you can imagine, and beyond-state-of-the-art equipment," Sommers said. "I wouldn't have jumped into this just because of the Hasbro-Transformers tie. Remember, 'Pirates of the Caribbean was a big hit, but 'Haunted Mansion' not so much."

Seattle P-I: We tell you what is news and you will like it!

Media: Typical media snobbery by someone who is looking out for the best interests based on his liberalism.

I certainly have plenty of feedback to consider from the ferry photo issue as we go forward.

I understand that people have a hard time with the concept that we get to decide what is news and what isn't, and what is fair and what isn't.

Several people have basically told me I didn't have the right to withhold the photos of the individuals the FBI want to identify. One person even said, "You have a responsibility to obey all FBI directives."

That's not the way a free press works.

Actually the free press works with an understanding that you put information together to let the people decide what is news or not. This was a big no no and only reminded people how arrogant the press is in this country.

But I am not mad because then you read something like this via Romenesko.

Retired BG editor: The game of Monopoly is over for papers
Romenesko Letters

Matt Storin agrees with some of William Powers' points, "but it's what he didn't say that leads me to dissent." The former Boston Globe editor notes that for the past 50 years or so, newspapers have been virtual monopolies in their markets -- despite TV and radio. But the Internet has changed that. "Many papers are fighting hard and creatively to save their franchises. And hopefully they will succeed. But it is hard to see how it will ever be the same. The game of Monopoly is over."
Posted at 6:37:05 PM

Economist: New era of liberal activism?

Politics: Via NRO corner, Economist with the story of the GOP hurting and answers the question if this is the rise of liberalism finally! Not really.

Dead right?

It is always tempting to read too much into this or that crisis. David Frum predicted doom for his fellow travellers in “Dead Right” just as Mr Gingrich was about to seize control of Congress. Emmett Tyrell described a conservative crack-up only to see the movement come back together.

The Democrats' good fortune is much more the result of a Republican collapse than a Democratic revival. The March Pew poll shows that the proportion of people who express a positive view of the Democratic Party has actually declined by six points since January 2001. It's just that the proportion of people who express a positive view of the Republican Party has declined by 15 points. The Democratic-controlled Congress is even more unpopular than the Bush White House, with the lowest approval rating in 35 years.

Americans remain sceptical about the Democrats' favourite tool for improving the world—government action. A Democracy Corps poll found that Americans believe by a majority of 57% to 29% that government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life. The same poll found that 83% of people believe that, if the government had more money, it would probably waste it, the highest level of anti-government sentiment in a decade. America is not entering into a new era of liberal activism.

Mexican Senate sides with mom deported from USA

Immigration: Mexico just views America has some downtown area where their citizens have the right to come and go as they please. If American lawmakers were to try this nonsense, you would be hearing loud whining from the same group of lawmakers.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican Senate committee passed a measure Wednesday urging President Felipe Calderon to send a diplomatic note to the United States protesting the deportation of an illegal migrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year.
The committee also approved a scholarship to help her 8-year-old U.S.-born son, Saul, who is an American citizen and stayed in the United States.

Elvira Arellano, 32, became an activist and a national symbol for illegal immigrant parents by defying her deportation order and speaking out from her sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church. She announced last week that she was leaving to try to lobby U.S. lawmakers for immigration reform.

On Sunday, shortly after she spoke at a rally in a Los Angeles church, she was arrested and deported to Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.

"We cannot remain quiet in view of this injustice and must ask for firm action from our authorities," Mexican Sen. Humberto Zazue said.

I hope Arellano does continue, she makes a great case for shutting down the borders.

Lindsey Lohan gets one day in jail for drunk/coke.

Culture: The hell? In Cali terms, one day means about 5 mins.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Lindsay Lohan has reached a plea deal on misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine charges that calls for her to spend one day in jail and serve 10 days of community service.

Jacksonville Jaguars support abortion group?

Culture: According to Lifenews they do to the planned parenthood of northeast Florida.

They started the Jaguars Foundation a year later and awards went out before the team ever played its first game.

The foundation has awarded grants to various local charities to assist disadvantaged youth and their families. Eventually it added programs to help reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases to the goals it supports.

On Tuesday, the foundation awarded the first grants, which included a $30,000 donation to Planned Parenthood of Northeast Florida.

However, the abortion business prominently attacks abstinence education, one of the leading methods of helping teens avoid pregnancy and STDs, on the front page of its web site. The group features a story claming that teens who practice abstinence eventually engage in high risk sexual activities.

The foundation did not respond to requests for comment, but Peter Racine, executive director of the Jaguars Foundation, previously told the Jacksonville Daily Record, “We do not support abortion programs. We support prevention programs."

Racine says none of the money from the foundation goes towards abortions, though pro-life advocates say the money is fungible and frees up other funds at Planned Parenthood for abortion activities.

I wouldn't be surprised if they do, it makes for a neat slight of hand in the end.

Resentment towards FBI over release of Ferry photos.

Terrorism: This is what happens when professional gripe groups tie themselves up in knots over being victims all the time.

Now the FBI's release of photographs of two men of unknown origin, who the agency says were observed acting suspiciously aboard as many as six different Washington ferry routes in recent weeks, is creating new worries in the community.

Muslim- and Arab-American leaders are upset that the FBI didn't consult them — as it has done in other instances — before releasing the photos on the Internet and to news organizations. They worry that the action may fracture the relationship the agency and the community have carefully built.

The FBI has stressed that the release of the photos is a rare move, taken only after it had exhausted other efforts to identify the men. The agency also has said the men's actions could be innocuous, but it needs to question them.

The photos were snapped by a ferry captain last month after crew members alerted him to suspicious activity. The men seemed inordinately interested in the operation of the vessel, took photographs of the interiors of the boats and went into areas tourists and commuters don't normally go, the FBI has said. The agency has received many tips but has not yet found the men.

Dozens of Muslims and Arabs have complained to community leaders about the photographs. The fallout has led to a meeting planned today between Muslim- and Arab-American community leaders and law-enforcement officials.

"We need to get some type of apology from them and figure out how to get back to where we were," said Rita Zawaideh, head of the Arab-American Community Coalition.

Stop with the threats of the community pulling back from help law enforcement, it does nothing but heap even more scorn and anger at Arabs and Muslims. If something happens and it turns out to be an Islamic terrorist, you think these words wouldn't come back to haunt the entire community? Even UK Muslim groups who pushed this nonsense for years have stopped because it was just creating a push back.

David Gomez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Seattle office, said he was aware of an incident in which five or six ferry passengers were questioned, but wasn't clear whether it was the same one.

Zawaideh said she met with FBI officials about the August incident three days before the agency released the photos of the two men. But the FBI didn't bring up that subject.

"Why not ask us then and we would have had a way to ask people in the community," she said.

Gomez said the agency needs to address certain sensitive issues, but "people in those communities have to get over this sensitivity toward feeling victimized."

Many passengers have been stopped and questioned recently, as the ferry system has stepped up security once the FBI concluded the men might be watching the system. The stops are based on activities, not skin color, Gomez said.

Two days ago, a Seattle Times photographer, who is white, was stopped and questioned after taking photographs near the Mukilteo ferry terminal.

The FBI didn't take the photos of the two men to the Arab- and Muslim-American community because the agency doesn't know if the men are Middle Eastern, Gomez added.

"That seems potentially prejudicial to me, and in some ways worse than simply putting [the photos] out the way we did," Gomez said. "It is not us saying these guys look Middle Eastern."

Zawaideh countered: "They're not saying these men are Arabs, but insinuating they are."

So the FBI puts out the photos and what is the new whine? Well, they are insinuating! The FBI can't win, so screw it. Gomez has the right idea of saying get over it.

UK: Man punches wife 24 times, no jail time.

Crime: Not even a month or something. Sometimes the Judges in the UK seem they just can't bother doing their job correctly.

A senior doctor who savagely beat up his wife after they argued about buying a new car has escaped a prison sentence.

Anaesthetics consultant Stuart Brown, 37, threw his wife to the floor and punched her at least 24 times as she lay at his feet.

He claimed a "red mist" descended after she went to sleep in the spare bedroom.

The vicious assault on Carol Mcewan followed regular verbal and physical abuse during their seven-year marriage.

But Brown, 37, who is thought to earn £100,000 a year, walked free from court after being ordered to pay her just £500 in compensation.

Magistrates decided against jailing him because he had no prior convictions and was of previous "good character".

Presiding magistrate John Warne told him: "No punishment this court could enforce could come anywhere near the impact you feel this had on you, your profession and your colleagues."

This second case seems even more clear cut.

Detective Sergeant Ian Fox, of Norfolk police, said: "This shows that domestic violence knows no class boundaries and can affect people from all walks of life."

A force insider added: "The sentence does not send a warning to abusive partners. Being of otherwise good character is no excuse for domestic abuse."

Cambridge graduate Colin Read, 25, was fined on Monday for using the iron on his wife, medical student Elizabeth, also 25.

He also slashed her with a knife after she forgot to make his sandwiches.

Read was even spared a community punishment because the judge ruled he was unlikely to reoffend and he was "too busy" to complete any order.

The wife is probably lucky the judge didn't fine her for getting in the way of the iron.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Florida state Dems looking to raise taxes.

Politics: For you! Da people by raising taxes on industries that help make Florida worth a damn. Typical class warfare.

Faced with majority Republicans' insistence on closing a state budget shortfall by whacking programs instead of considering ways to increase tax revenue, two South Florida Democrats want to shake up the collegial, let's-all-get-along style of the Florida Senate.

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland, said it's nice that senators of both parties work together on most issues, unlike the more partisan House, where the Republican majority often ignores the minority party.

But, Ring said, the looming budget cuts coming in a special legislative session next month, are too important to avoid the toughest choices.

For Democrats "last year was a nice year. It was kind of Kumbaya. We worked kind of well together," Ring said. "No more. We've got to stand up now. We've got to stop being this Kumbaya."

The current approach favored by Senate leaders involves across the board cuts to the state budget to close the gap created by a shortfall in expected tax revenue to the state.

"What we're afraid of is they're going to cut some real money out of education and cut real money out of health care [and] cut real money out of social services," Ring said at Tuesday night's meeting of the Broward Democratic Party.

He said the possible $1.5 billion in budget cuts shouldn't be implemented without first considering the $12 billion a year the state loses because of sales tax exemptions.

State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also called for examining "sales tax exemptions, which benefit a narrow group who happened to have the right lobbyist at the right time."

Ring cited charter fishing as an example. If fishing charters are subject to sales tax, Ring said, "People are still going to come to Florida and use our charter fishing boats."

"They don't want to talk about cutting sales-tax exemptions. They want to cut about 4 percent across the board," Ring said.

Democrats need to be different, he said.

This sounds like a state version of the idiotic luxury tax from the early 90s that ended in disaster especially for Florida's boating industry because of a simple point missed.

we need to revisit the history of the luxury tax of the early 1990s--a history that congressional members' severe amnesia is preventing them from remembering. Class-warfare thinking infected the luxury tax of 1990. Think of the multimillionaire whose wife was wearing a gold-and-diamond necklace and a fur coat. They were getting into their limousine to drive to their 100-foot yacht on which they would spend their weekend. How was it possibly fair that the rich spend so lavishly on such unnecessary items when Joe Six-Pack struggled just to put food on the table? Imposing a luxury tax on those items was a proper way to even things out, to make the rich pay their "fair share" to fund the government programs that helped Joe Six-Pack.

Unfortunately, Congress never bothered to consider that increasing the tax on these items, and thereby increasing the price of those items, might change the behavior of said rich people. (Indeed, many members of Congress stubbornly refuse ever to acknowledge that taxes ever affect behavior.) But said rich people had other ideas. If the price of jewelry, furs and yachts suddenly increased, then maybe purchasing a winter home in Florida seemed like a much better deal. Or maybe those rich people would take a shopping trip to other parts of the world, where the prices of jewelry, furs and yachts were now much more competitive thanks to the U.S. Congress.

And if members of Congress never considered that the luxury tax would discourage rich people from buying luxury items in the U.S., then they surely never considered that such an effect might not be so good for the Joe Six-Packs who worked in the industries producing luxury items. A Joint Economic Committee study later found that 330 jobs in the jewelry industry and 7,600 jobs in the yacht industry were lost thanks to the luxury tax. Perhaps the greatest irony was that in 1991 the federal government paid out over $7 million more in unemployment benefits to those workers than it collected in luxury tax revenues.

For people like Ring and Deutch considering the places they represent, the idea that raising the prices of vital industries given this is a tourist state won't cause an exodus of visitors elsewhere and make jobs directly and indirectly connected to say the charter boar industry to be cut is foolish. But this is the only mantra Dems like to hear, raise taxes or in this case "close the tax exemption" which is the same thing.

Liberals going after the Blue Dogs and New Democrats.

Politics: That marriage didn't last long as the liberals realized they couldn't push the conservative Dems around.

SpongeBob SquarePants Chinese recall.

Bidness: Even more Chinese recall probelms but less disgusting than the recycled chopstick story.

WASHINGTON (AP) - More children's items made in China have been recalled because they contain high levels of lead.

The largest recall affects about 250,000 SpongeBob SquarePants address books and journals, manufactured in China and imported by Martin Designs. They have been recalled because paint on the metal spiral bindings can contain high levels of lead.

About 66,000 spinning tops and about 4,700 pails painted with Thomas & Friends, Curious George, circus scenes or solid colors have also been recalled because paint on the wooden handles contains high levels of lead.

About 14,000 TOBY & ME jewelry sets, and about 7,900 Children's Divine Inspiration Charm Bracelets have also been recalled.

No injuries have been reported.

Zimbabwe inflation hits record

Africa: Congrats!

Zimbabwe's inflation rate has leapt to a record high, official data showed on Wednesday, raising pressure on President Robert Mugabe to ease an economic crisis that foes hope will weaken the veteran leader.

Zimbabwe's inflation -- already the highest in the world -- hit 7,634.8 percent in July, reminding Zimbabweans there is no relief in sight from daily hardships including chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Although the government says the inflation figure is correct, many analysts and critics say it is likely much higher. The International Monetary Fund said last month inflation may reach 100,000 percent by year-end.

Mugabe has accused some businesses of raising prices without justification as part of a Western plot to oust him.

He launched a blitz on inflation by ordering businesses to freeze prices in late June. But the move exacerbated shortages, leaving shop shelves empty. The government eased some restrictions on Wednesday.

Los Angeles councilman wants the Feds to bail out homeowners.

Nation: NO! Just no, these people should not be bailed out like this because they and mortgage companies wanted the cheap money and now have to pay a price for their stupidity.

Housing experts painted a grim picture of Los Angeles' real-estate market Tuesday as City Councilman Richard Alarcon called for city, state and federal funds to help bail out city homeowners who can't pay their mortgages.

Warning that the region is embroiled in a foreclosure upheaval, Alarcon said he's also considering asking lawmakers to declare a state of emergency to direct state and federal money to counseling and loans for people about to lose their homes.

"We're in a crisis. We don't need bureaucrats who are going to sit on their thumbs and not get things done. Who do we go to in federal government to ask for emergency assistance to help solve this crisis?" Alarcon asked city housing officials Tuesday during an emergency hearing on foreclosures.

"It seems to me we'd better kick the federal government in the butt to get into action to help us solve the problem, and I don't think we're doing any kicking now."

Do not subsidize their mistakes, let the market correct itself.

The UK version of Anchorwoman? Emily Maitlis

Media: In America there is a tiff about a model trying to be a news anchor and in the UK, they have an anchorwoman who is trying to be a model.

In olden days a glimpse of a newsreader's stocking was looked on as something shocking. But now, it seems, almost anything goes - at least as far as Emily Maitlis is concerned.

The glamorous presenter decided to liven up proceedings during a televised trailer for the BBC's 10pm news.

Perched casually on the edge of her circular desk, her stilettos dangling above the studio floor, the 36-year-old blonde swung one toned leg over the other.

Although she was wearing a relatively demure navy skirt-suit, Miss Maitlis's flash of shapely calf caused a stir among more conservative viewers who saw the 9pm trailer on Monday.

The Katie Couric of the BBC perhaps? It just looks really cheesy and amateurish.

Google news carrying comments from articles.

Media: So far I have only seen two comments from people within articles and both involving immigration.

ICE Takes Action Against, CA - 1 hour agoLOS ANGELES -- Hundreds of protestors rallied in front of the Federal Building in Downtown on August 20 to protest the recent arrest and deportation to ...

Equal Treatment, Even For Illegals Men's News Daily

CBS 2/KCAL 9 Viewers Respond To Immigrant's Arrest CBS 2
Comment by Ira Mehlman Media Dir., Fed. for American Immigration Reform

TIME - Blogger News Network
all 1,146 news articles »

It has potential, but it is groundbreaking because before you would see this in a press release or blog responding to the article. Now its with the article and you get both side of the story or an opinion fully given instead of just soundbites.

Now New Jersey to ask about Immigration status.

Immigration: This changes from only looking at the status after a conviction.

Attorney General Anne Milgram today ordered all local police officers in New Jersey to inquire about the immigration status of suspects charged with serious crimes, and to notify federal immigration authorities if there is reason to believe the suspect is in the country illegally.

The requirements, which go into effect immediately, apply to suspects arrested for specific indictable offenses and for driving while intoxicated, Milgram said. If the suspect is unable to prove he or she is legally in the United States, the police officer is required to notify Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, she said. The policy also specifies that prosecutors and courts be notified.

Local officers cannot inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses to crimes or persons requesting police assistance, she said.

....Morristown's application for 287(g) authority, the first in New Jersey, has generated heated debate in the Morris County community. One other New Jersey municipality has inquired about the program, according to ICE officials, who would not identify the town.

Milgram's announcement came amid questions about how Jose Carranza, an illegal immigrant from Peru who is a chief suspect in the Newark schoolyard killings, was released on bail earlier this year after being charged with child rape. Authorities are still determining whether a second suspect in the killings, Melvin Jovel, 18, was also in the country illegally.

The Guardian less P.C than the NYTIMES?

Terrorism: How sad is that?

The person close to the investigation said that Kafeel Ahmed had sent an e-mail message to his brother two hours before crashing the Jeep, but that it was not opened until 90 minutes after the attack. On Monday, The Guardian newspaper reported Kafeel Ahmed had sent a text message to “a relative” with link to an e-mail and a password to access it, saying he was acting according to God’s will

Detectives investigating the attempted car bombing of Glasgow airport have recovered a "claim of responsibility" written by Kafeel Ahmed, who died from burns he suffered in the attack, the Guardian has learned. Ahmed, 27, suffered more than 90% burns after he drove a Jeep laden with improvised explosives into the airport terminal, in Britain's first attempted suicide car bombing.

According to a source, Ahmed says his actions were carried out in the name of Allah. Ahmed writes that his relative would be shocked to read what he is about to tell him about his involvement in terrorism, praises God, and says he wants martyrdom.

Birth-control costs soaring at colleges

Culture: Or as I would have headline it, "Promiscuous morons now have to think before hooking up"

Last spring, 20-year-old pre-med student Elizabeth Harris had only Costa Rica on her mind. She was hoping to wine and dine there while taking a few biology courses.

But the Waukegan native and University of Illinois at Chicago junior had to skip her trip.

Having gone off birth control, Harris found she was pregnant. She said she quit when the cost of her prescription at the UIC clinic more than doubled.

"[The price] steered me away," said Harris. "I don't blame them [UIC], but I might not be in the situation I am in now."

How did she get into this situation?

Cost hikes across the country are a result of new federal regulations that removed incentives for drug makers to provide birth control at low cost to colleges.

Harris encountered the increases when she wanted to continue with the NuvaRing, a monthly vaginal contraceptive, through UIC. She was shocked to find the new cost was $35, up from $15.

Other schools cut some birth-control options altogether. Northeastern Illinois University spokeswoman Carolyn Bonner said that, as of January, the school no longer provided contraceptives such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo for $5, the NuvaRing for $3 or the patch for $30. The school now dispenses generic birth control pills for $12 a month instead.

Some health officials fear students will be forced to rely on condoms, which may not be as effective. "When it's not planned sex, something like a condom may not be used," said Dr. Nandini Khatkhate, UIC medical director at Family Medicine Center.

Harris would agree with the statement. She said that even though UIC provides free condoms she would only use them "once in a while." Other times she and her partner were feeling spontaneous and "it just happened," she explained.

Denise Watkins, a nurse practitioner at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said she recommends using both hormonal contraceptives and male or female condoms. The condoms add protection from sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

Another example of when the government is your mommy/daddy people allow their common sense to shut down for the sake in this case sexual pleasures. How in this day and age can you not use a condom? Spontaneous nothing, I am not showing up on Maury Povich to prove I am not the daddy. This low cost contraceptives seem to make students go sexually hog wild without thinking of the consquences as reported by CNN this morning.

For the story, CNN paraded out several people who saw this as a serious crisis and to explain why the government should act.

“It will mean that more college women will become pregnant in an unwanted pregnancy during their college student years,” claimed Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to CNN. “It will mean that many will have to drop out of school or face an abortion. It is a difficult situation to put college women in.”

However, the CNN report didn’t offer anyone who would regard a birth control subsidy as excessive government spending nor did they report on the moral elements involved with birth control financially supported by their government on college campuses.

But, Cohen did manage to find someone to point out the tough choices ahead for some student. “[Stephanie] Davidson [a Columbia University student] worries that these students will have to choose between food, books, and birth control,” said Cohen.

Hey, welcome to the real world where actions may have unintended consequences you will have to face up too.

NAACP Atlanta head compares dog fighting to hunting.

Crime: In a rush to defend Vick, it would be advisiable not to compare dog fighting to hunting. Just a warning.

An NAACP leader said Michael Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL, preferably the Atlanta Falcons, after serving his sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation.

"As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football," said R.L. White, president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter. "We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

White said the Falcons quarterback is a human being who has made a mistake and should be allowed to prove that he has learned from that mistake.

.... "At this point, you're not looking at guilt or innocence," White said, referring to the possible harsher sentence Vick could have received had he taken his case to trial and been found guilty. "You're thinking, 'What I better do is cut my losses and take a plea.' But if he saw this as the best thing to do at this point for his future, then I think he made the correct choice."

White said he regretted that the plea deal will mean all the facts of the case might never be known.

"Some have said things to save their own necks," White said. "Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he had killed a human being."

White said he does not support dogfighting and that he considers it as bad as hunting.

"His crime is, it was a dog," White said.

Dog fighting is not a mistake, Vick from all accounts bankrolled the operation that he had to know was illegal considering it is a crime to hold such events around the country. It does the NAACP Atlanta no good to its reputation to try and compare it to hunting.

Dog fighting or any sort of animal cruelty of this nature gets under people's skin because of the reality that people are in charge of setting dogs upon one another for cruel enjoyment. Hunting doesn't involved pitting two animals against each other until one dies at the behest of people. As for getting more negative press because he killed dogs instead of a human being. If Vick did kill someone, the press would have been just as bad or even worse given the fact he is a public figure.

To rift off a line, just because he's black doesn't mean he is Nelson Mandela or he is too dumb to realize what he was doing wasn't wrong.

Virginia Democrats use illegal aliens for red meat politics.

Politics: Hey, the calculation is they are illegal anyway, we can attack the GOP guy and those minorities who can vote will forget about this election time and still vote for us as usual. Good plan from that point of view.

RICHMOND, Aug. 21 -- Democratic lawmakers launched a new front in the battle over abusive-driver fees Tuesday, accusing Republicans of exempting illegal immigrants from having to pay them. The effort drew rebukes from immigrant rights groups and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, whose spokesman called it "absolutely silly."

House Democrats targeted Del. Daniel W. Marshall III (R), who supported the fees and represents the southern district of Danville, where immigration has become a major issue.

In a statement Tuesday, Mark Bergman, a spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus, said the fees provide "immunity for out-of-state drivers and illegal immigrants."

Immigrant rights activists were outraged by the Democrats' accusation because, they say, Virginia's law applies to most illegal immigrants.

The Democratic attack on Marshall underscores how the fees -- which can reach $3,000 -- and illegal immigration are shaping up to be two top issues in the fall elections, when all 140 seats in the House of Delegates and Senate are open.

Marshall is no different from many other Republicans who have backed away from the fees, but Democrats targeted him because they think he could be vulnerable in his contest Nov. 6 against Democrat Adam Tomer.

"We are going to use the abuser fee issue district by district," said Bergman, who dubbed Marshall "flip-flop Danny." Democrats need 11 seats to regain control of the House.

Miami Hurricanes leave the Orange Bowl for Dolphin Stadium.

Sports: About time. The Orange bowl was outdated and a dump 20 years ago. All this talk about tradition and history is great if the City of Miami had actually kept up with making the OB a better stadium. But Miami politics being akin to a banana republic they never got their act together and kept pushing promises no one down here thought they could keep in the long run.

Dolphin Stadium is going thru a $300 million upgrade and will help make itself a good recruiting point down the road.

Norway's Moose belching adding to Global Warming.

Enviro: In keeping with the goals of the Heathrow protesters who demanded people stop flying to stop adding to the effects of global warming, the solution to this problem would be mass culling.

The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of methane a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey.

Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting.

Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway's technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much CO2 as a moose does in a year.

Much like cows (more...), bacteria in a moose's stomach create methane gas which is considered even more destructive to the environment than carbon gas. Cows pose the same problem.

Norway has some 120,000 moose but an estimated 35,000 are expected to be killed in this year's moose hunting season, which starts on September 25, Norwegian newspaper VG reported.

I will start up the BBQ.

Volume Knob Found in Brain

Science: So my brain can go to 11?

Until now, neuroscientists thought hair-like extensions called axons were like the "wires" in a radio, conveying signals between brain cells.

“But we found that if you stimulate the axon, the signal can be altered, like turning the volume knob on the radio,” Metherate said.

The scientists studied a region in the mouse brain associated with hearing that contained a brain cell with an axon connected to the brain's cortex. Like many axons in the brain, this one contains a receptor that is activated by acetylcholine; nicotine from cigarettes also binds to the acetylcholine receptor.

In their experiments, the scientists either stimulated the axon with nicotine or did not apply nicotine. Without nicotine, about 35 percent of the messages sent by the brain cell reached the cortex, while the success rate jumped to nearly 70 percent with nicotine.

To confirm the nicotine was acting on the axon itself and not the initial brain cell or the destination (called the terminal), they added the nicotine only to the axon and also isolated the axon. The results held in both cases.

Time to go nic crazy?
Metherate said the implications range from the effects of cigarette smoking to treatments for psychiatric disorders to the basics of how the brain works.

"Nicotine enhances cognitive function, that's been documented in dozens of studies, but people really haven't understood why," Metherate told LiveScience. "This is probably one major reason it's enhancing cognitive function, because it's allowing the cortex to be more sensitive to incoming input."

The finding, published online in the Aug. 19 edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, also has implications for certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, which have been associated with nicotine abuse or the loss of nicotine receptors.

Recycled chopsticks scare from China.

China: This seems to be a domestic issue.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing factory recycled used chopsticks and sold up to 100,000 pairs a day without any form of disinfection, a newspaper said on Wednesday, the latest is a string of food and product safety scares.

Counterfeit, shoddy and dangerous products are widespread in China, whose exports have been rocked in recent months by a spate of safety scandals, ranging from pet food to medicine, tires, toothpaste and toys.

Officials raided the factory and seized about half a million pairs of recycled disposable bamboo chopsticks and a packaging machine, the Beijing News said.

The owner, identified only by his surname Wu, said he had sold the recycled chopsticks for 0.04 yuan a pair and made an average of about 1,000 yuan ($130) a day.

Gross but profitable.

Mysterious mob eclipses Cosa Nostra

Crime: AP article on the what is now the biggest crime syndicate in Europe after the authorities cracked down on the Mafia.

Gratteri said the 'ndrangheta (pronounced AN-dran-getta) invests very little in southern Italy, instead focusing its money-laundering activities on more affluent central and northern Italy as well as eastern Europe.

"After the fall of the Berlin Wall, they went there (to East Germany) and bought cheap properties that were historically or architecturally prestigious," Gratteri said.

Prosecutors say the 'ndrangheta then proceeded to set up a network of pizzerias, restaurants and hotels for laundering money.

"The Germans must realize that where there is pizza, there's the mafia," Giorgio Basile, one of the 'ndrangheta's rare turncoats, was quoted as saying by Italian media after he was arrested at a train station in Bavaria in 1998.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More fallout from Chindamo stay.

UK: The Telegraph and Daily Mail are going nuts while the Guardian shows its left whiny wussy liberal side in calling for compassion for a killer. Somehow the rulings that were supposed to be kept private were leaked to everyone. London Times with the recap.

Eleven years ago, when he was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for punching and stabbing to death Philip Lawrence, Learco Chindamo was described as a disturbed and troubled teenager caught up in a cycle of gang violence.

Today prisoner sources say he is a “model prisoner” who has been assessed as unlikely to reoffend.

Chindamo, now 26, is currently in Ashwell near Oakham, in Rutland, but is likely to move to open jail conditions later this year in preparation for a hearing before the Parole Board, which will decide if he can be released.

He is eligible for release on parole next January when he has served the minimum term of 12 years laid down by the courts. Even if the Parole Board decides that he is no longer a risk to the public and can be released, Chindamo will be on licence for the rest of his life. In a statement for his appeal against deportation, Chindamo was said to have done all that could be expected of him to address his offending behaviour.

More links

London Times:
Secret papers disclose threat posed by Lawrence killer
Decision turned on protection as EU citizen
Widow attacks Act for ‘working for criminals’
The Chindamo Secret

justice needed - not 'human rights
Mrs Lawrence is not hell-bent on vengeance
David Cameron: Scrap the Human Rights Act
How three men made the Philip Lawrence decision
protect victims' human rights

Leader: A case for law and logic
Life on the streets now and 12 years ago
Katie Ghose: Human rights hysteria threatens us all
Straw vows to back fight for deportation
Asylum removals down after focus on prisoners

Newark inner city hostile to illegals?

Immigration: This is not the direction illegal supporters wanted the execution shootings to have included as a cause.

Beyond the finger-pointing is a rising hostility to illegal immigrants, not just among conservatives, but in the inner city.

"They should stop illegal people from coming over here," said Racheal Smith of Newark. "They're trying to make it legal for them to come over here and they shouldn't be, because they can't even keep track of these people, and they're going out committing all types of crimes."

Another Newark resident, Jonathan Quarterman, told ABC News, "The federal government will do what they want to do, and we end up wearing the weight."

"They should stop letting them in illegally. They should do something about it. Send them back," said another Newark resident.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author of the new book "The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics," worries what this will do to pre-existing racial tensions between African-Americans and Latinos.

"Fear, on the part of so many African-Americans, that illegal immigrants are bringing an element of violence, and even predatory violence against African-Americans ... creates even greater fear," he said.

"Newark is coming on the heels of violence in other cities," Hutchinson said. "Are we getting to a point where violence in America, and even hate violence in America, now comes black against brown or brown against black?"

Liberal immigration activists argue that illegal immigrants do not commit violent crimes more than any other group, but for many in mourning here in Newark, two illegal immigrants may have been two too many.

There is already "brown vs black" in Los Angeles and a culture clash is inevitable given the circumstances.

When internet memes go too far in China.

Weird: " I has a car."

A walrus poses next to a car at the 14th Dalian International Automotive Industry Exhibition in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, August 16, 2007. More than 800 vehicles from China and overseas are on display during the four-day show opened on Thursday.[Xinhua]

NYC schools become a farce under Bloomberg.

Edumacation: You have got to be kidding me.

Faced with 70,000 students or more who are years behind in obtaining the credits needed to graduate from high school, New York City is at the forefront of a movement to recognize that for a significant number, high school might stretch into five, six, even seven years.

In an effort that has expanded across Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s second term, the city has spent nearly $37 million to identify and cater to students who are at the biggest risk of dropping out and has already contracted for $31 million more in programs.

The staggering numbers of those who are far behind cover almost a quarter of the city’s public high school population — students like Sunil Ragoonath, who at 18 had passed barely enough courses at John Adams High School in Queens to be considered a sophomore. He routinely skipped school. “All I had to do was walk out the door,” Mr. Ragoonath said recently.

We used to call these people laggards. This is just an extended version of getting a GED to goose up overall grad numbers isn't it? Pathetic, the more you coddle and take away the consequences of failure, the worse the problem is going to get for the system. Why bother trying if you know someone is going to catch you over and over.

Lordy...Obama Calls for Easing Cuba Embargo.

Politics: Castro is on the verge of death, Raul seems to be in charge and more pragmatic(allegedly) to work with as the future of Cuba seems in doubt but workable in America's favor. So what does Obama do?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is leaping into the long-running Cuba debate by calling for the U.S. to ease restrictions for Cuban-Americans who want to visit the island or send money home.

Obama's campaign said Monday that, if elected, the Illinois senator would lift restrictions imposed by the Bush administration and allow Cuban-Americans to visit their relatives more frequently, as well as ease limits on the amount of money they can send to their families.

"Senator Obama feels that the Bush administration has made a humanitarian and a strategic blunder," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an e-mail. "His concern is that this has had a profoundly negative impact on the Cuban people, making them more dependent on the Castro regime, thus isolating them from the transformative message carried by Cuban-Americans."

Tremendous, lets make it easier to keep Castro's party members in power by allowing more money onto the island they can use for their purpose. I am sure this op-ed won't show up in the Castro runned media as a propaganda victory.

Of course as Obama said, "I'm not afraid to lose a propaganda battle to a bunch of dictators,"

Naive and inexperienced.

Analysis: Iraq Report May Shift Climate

Politics: Via the AP. Babington running some interference or warning the Dems.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are warily anticipating a September report on the Iraq war, realizing that opponents will use any upbeat assessment to portray them as defeatists just as glimmers of hope appear.

While many of their party colleagues find the notion fanciful, they acknowledge that top Republicans hope the report will show just enough progress in Iraq to persuade millions of Americans to be patient about troop withdrawals and less critical of how the war is being run.

Democratic candidates for president and Congress, the GOP argument goes, would then be stuck with their Iraq-is-lost stance, appearing irresolute and beholden to liberal activists just as things are looking better.

Many Democratic strategists consider it highly unlikely that a Bush administration report could convince voters the war is improving in a meaningful way. Polling data suggest most Americans are unlikely to change their views about the war based on a new report from the administration.

Still, some Democrats worry that credible reports of even slight improvements in the military situation in Iraq could hurt their party's momentum, built largely on public disenchantment with President Bush and his handling of the war. The administration is writing the September update while consulting with Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker. Both men will testify before Congress.

Never thought I see the day where one party openly hopes American military fails miserably to gloat about it.

The downside of Chinese investment in Africa.

Bidness: We had the somewhat cheery upside of Chinese investments, now comes the downside.

"....On the one hand, Chinese imports give Africans access to goods and amenities that developed countries take for granted but that most people here could not have dreamed of affording just a few years ago — cellular telephones, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, computers. And cheaper prices on more basic items, like clothing, light bulbs and shoes, mean people have more money in their pockets.

“There is no doubt China has been good for Zambia,” said Felix Mutati, Zambia’s minister of finance. “Why should we have a bad attitude toward the Chinese when they are doing all the right things? They are bringing investment, world-class technology, jobs, value addition. What more can you ask for?”

But across Africa, and especially in the relatively robust economies of southern Africa, there are clear winners and losers. Textile mills and other factories here in Zambia have suffered and even closed as cheap Chinese goods flood the world market, eliminating jobs in a country that sorely needs them.

The Chinese investment in copper mining here has left a trail of heartbreak and recrimination after one of the worst industrial accidents in Zambian history, a blast at a Chinese-owned explosives factory in Chambishi in 2005 that killed 46 people, most of them in their 20s.

“Who is winning? The Chinese are, for sure,” said Michael Sata, a Zambian opposition politician who campaigned in last year’s presidential election on an anti-China platform. He lost, but with a surprisingly strong showing, and his party, the Patriotic Front, won many seats in local and parliamentary elections in Lusaka, the capital, and the Zambian industrial heartland, where China has made its biggest investments.

“Their interest is exploiting us, just like everyone who came before,” he said. “They have simply come to take the place of the West as the new colonizers of Africa.”

Children’s Health Insurance Program for all!

Medical: Typical of the states to try and push this defacto universal health care for "children" beyond its original intent.

The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for New York, California and others to extend coverage to children in middle-income families.

Administration officials outlined the new standards in a letter sent to state health officials on Friday evening, in the middle of a monthlong Congressional recess. In interviews, they said the changes were intended to return the Children’s Health Insurance Program to its original focus on low-income children and to make sure the program did not become a substitute for private health coverage.

....The poverty level for a family of four is set by the federal government at $20,650 in annual income. Many states have received federal permission to cover children with family incomes exceeding twice the poverty level — $41,300 for a family of four. In New York, which covers children up to 250 percent of the poverty level, the Legislature has passed a bill that would raise the limit to 400 percent— $82,600 for a family of four — but the change is subject to federal approval.

California wants to increase its income limit to 300 percent of the poverty level, from 250 percent. Pennsylvania recently raised its limit to 300 percent, from 200 percent. New Jersey has had a limit of 350 percent for more than five years.

What was the purpose of this program again?

When Congress created the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, it said the purpose was to cover “uninsured low-income children.” Under the law, states are supposed to make sure public coverage “does not substitute for coverage under group health plans.”

I just wanted to make sure because if you are going to put on a welfare program like this, you damn sure leave for people who actually need it and not up the limit to grab a bunch of people who do not.

Scientist studies a PC taboo and gets attacked.

Science: Give the man some respect, most won't dare touch a third rail like transgender. At this rate the only thing that will be acceptable to research without backlash from a special interest group is religion... only Christianity of course.

"....The central figure, J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University, has promoted a theory that his critics think is inaccurate, insulting and potentially damaging to transgender women. In the past few years, several prominent academics who are transgender have made a series of accusations against the psychologist, including that he committed ethics violations. A transgender woman he wrote about has accused him of a sexual impropriety, and Dr. Bailey has become a reviled figure for some in the gay and transgender communities.

To many of Dr. Bailey’s peers, his story is a morality play about the corrosive effects of political correctness on academic freedom. Some scientists say that it has become increasingly treacherous to discuss politically sensitive issues. They point to several recent cases, like that of Helmuth Nyborg, a Danish researcher who was fired in 2006 after he caused a furor in the press by reporting a slight difference in average I.Q. test scores between the sexes.

“What happened to Bailey is important, because the harassment was so extraordinarily bad and because it could happen to any researcher in the field,” said Alice Dreger, an ethics scholar and patients’ rights advocate at Northwestern who, after conducting a lengthy investigation of Dr. Bailey’s actions, has concluded that he is essentially blameless. “If we’re going to have research at all, then we’re going to have people saying unpopular things, and if this is what happens to them, then we’ve got problems not only for science but free expression itself.”

Not surprising, all of the attacks were without merit when looked at by a hostile party and now she is getting attacked. It is a fun read when research meets up with political correctness.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The leftist Islamists apologists.

Terrorism: I guess the mild scuffle between "ex-leftist" Andrew Anthony who ripped into the left has having lost their way. Seumas Milne, long time apologist for Islamic terror groups or as he calls it the resistance to the imperialist western forces and defender of downtrodding Muslims/Arabs everywhere who have been treated badly by the evil West. Same company as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway. The response to Anthony is a classic example of the echo chamber which Seumas lives in that sounds strong and convincing to him. Yet even a cursory glance shows the typical self loathing/acceptance of any group he and others like him will side as long as they are in part Anti-Western/American.

No doubt it must be galling for Anthony and his western supremacist allies that the positions supported by the left and mainstream liberal opinion on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror are shared and seen to have been vindicated by public opinion in Britain and across the world. Unlike Anthony and his friends, most people have understood that Islamist terror is driven by western intervention in the Muslim world and that Britain only became a target once Britain joined George Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is a neocon myth that the left in Britain has compromised its principles in its opposition to the war on terror. On the contrary, for the left or genuine liberals not to have made common cause with Muslims in opposition to military aggression and lawlessness, or defended the Muslim community against racism and Islamophobic attacks, would have been the real betrayal of progressive principles, including that of solidarity with the powerless. But it is precisely his failure to face up to the overwhelming inequalities of power in both international and domestic politics that underlies Anthony's profound misreading of the events of the past six years.

There is no compromise of its principles, just a mutual meetings of the minds with similar agendas coming together under the guise of classic liberalism.

This is the same man who protested the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in the UN's Hague because he viewed it as nothing more than an extension of American foreign policy. Again the common theme is he was against the West. That is fine, but people like him also show a paternal behavior towards Muslims as reactionary creatures who will break out in violence as long as they feel put upon.

Be nice and give them want they want and everything will be fine is his way of thinking and the majority of the left who run around with "We are all Hezzbollah now" signs. The admiration he showed the terrorists in Iraq and cheer leading them on to kill/drive out western forces is typical of that side of the aisle thinking these days.

Muslims are a means to an end, they make common cause based on the flimsiest of details and causes because it can be used to cut back against the West. The thread on CiF is a fun read as commentators claw into him.

Killer's 'human right' to stay in UK.

Crime: In yet another example of the stupefying UK criminal court system, a killer can't be kicked out of the UK to Italy because it is against his rights to be with mommy and a family life. This is what the pussification of a society gets you.

The widow of a headmaster stabbed to death outside his school bitterly attacked a decision to let his foreign killer stay in Britain when he is released from jail.

Frances Lawrence said she was ''unutterably depressed" that the human rights of her family had taken second place to those of her husband's murderer.

Philip Lawrence, 48, was killed in December 1995 when he intervened in a gang fight outside his school in Maida Vale, west London.

His killer Learco Chindamo, who was 15 at the time, was born in Italy and came to Britain at the age of five.

The Home Office has been fighting a legal battle to deport him when he completes his prison sentence, possibly next year.

But the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled today that such a move would breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This guarantees the right to a ''family life", and since Chindamo's ties are in the UK and he speaks only English, the tribunal ruled that repatriating him to Italy would be unjust.

It was the second time the courts had blocked Chindamo's deportation. An attempt in 2001 was rejected because it began too soon after he had been sentenced.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the courts have not upheld our decision to pursue deportation in this case.

"We believe that foreign prisoners who have committed serious crimes should face automatic deportation from the UK at the end of their sentence."
Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said it was a "ludicrous decision".

He added: "The fact that he may be paroled and back on our the streets as early as next year is in itself disgusting.

"What about the human rights of Philip Lawrence, robbed of his life by a thoughtless knife attack or the human rights of Mr Lawrence's wife and children, deprived of a loving husband and father.”

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "It is a stark demonstration of the clumsy incompetence of this Government's human rights legislation that we are unable to send a proven killer back to his own country, especially when that country is in Europe.”

Who knew Italy would be considered a country where it is a crime to deport someone.

Biofuels switch a mistake, say researchers

Enviro: It looks like finally people are taking a longer look at the cost of making Biofuels and realizing it doesn't add up.

Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels, according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels.

Biofuels - petrol and diesel extracted from plants - are presented as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels because the crops absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.

The study warns that forests must not be cleared to make way for biofuel crops. Clearing forests produces an immediate release of carbon gases into the atmosphere, accompanied by a loss of habitats, wildlife and livelihoods, the researchers said.

Britain is committed to substituting 10% of its transport fuel with biofuels under Europewide plans to slash carbon emissions by 2020.

"Biofuel policy is rushing ahead without understanding the implications," said Renton Righelato of the World Land Trust, a conservation charity. "It is a mistake in climate change terms to use biofuels."

One of the fears is developing countries will drop foodstock for biostock and another study out is there is money to be made.

A steep rise in prices of agricultural commodities that has been linked to the global boom in biofuels is good for the world’s rural poor, a new report says.

The findings, published in a book, are contrary to recent fears that increased use of food crops in the manufacture of biofuels could lead to marked rise in food insecurity with the poor as the biggest losers.

Worldwatch, the publisher of the report, says that though demand for biofuels may make life harder for the urban poor, the rural folks stand to benefit from sale of agricultural produce to manufacturers of biofuels.

“Decades of declining agricultural prices have been reversed thanks to the growing use of biofuels,” says Christopher Flavin, president of the Institute.

Religious fault line divides Europeans

Culture: Brits are getting a little bit less tolerant especially when it comes to Muslims. Poll by the Financial Times.

One is the contrasting attitudes of the majorities in different countries towards their Muslim fellow citizens. In the UK, Muslims are viewed with much greater suspicion than in France, for example.

The other big theme is the differing status of religion in European societies. In France, and to a lesser extent Britain, religion is seen as a private affair. Less than a quarter of inhabitants of the two countries support the idea of faith schools, and many have misgivings about allowing religious attire in schools and workplaces. For more devout Muslims, this issue can cause concern.

But in Spain and the US, the picture is different, with much more enthusiasm for faith schools. Italians and Americans also mostly accept religious symbols and dress in public places.

On the key issue of whether it is possible to be both a Muslim and a citizen of their country, Germans and Britons have the most misgivings. By contrast, in Spain, the US and France more than 70 per cent said it was possible to be both.

Erik Bleich, an expert on European race relations at Middlebury College in Vermont, said: “The poll suggests that people in Britain are turning away from the more progressive or multicultural approach to diversity that has prevailed there for decades.”

....A third of Italians and Germans, and 46 per cent of Britons felt Muslims had too much political power. Of the British figure, Mr Bleich said: “That radically over- estimates the amount of power Muslims have.” Only four of 646 members of parliament are Muslims, and Muslims had failed to change Britain’s Iraq policy.